System of a Down singer Serj Tankian paid tribute to late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell in EW’s 2017 Year in Review issue. He revealed that Cornell was excited to head out on tour with Soundgarden shortly before his death.
He told Eric Renner Brown, “First of all, his voice was kick-ass. Chris had that incredible emotion and this phenomenal range. He always made me feel something, no matter whether he was singing soft or he was going really high or screaming. Along with Soundgarden’s music, it was just a perfect combination. His lyrics were always challenging – antiauthoritarian and anti-hypocrisy. When the Grunge movement started, I was definitely intrigued by them, and Chris’ vocal style specifically.
Years later, after I began touring with System of a Down, we ended up meeting through friends. My first impression of Chris was that he was so modest: Here is this incredible rock god who is gracious with his time and humble and cool. When you complimented him, he’d always be surprised. If you said, ‘I love Temple of the Dog, bro!’ he’d be like, ‘No way!’ He was a perfect rock spokesperson and also a mild-mannered, gentle human being.
Last time I saw him was at Elton John’s birthday party. We were talking about touring: ‘Aren’t you tired of it?’ He was was like, ’Nah, man, I’m going to go on tour with Soundgarden.’”